UPDATED: Apple announced in a press release Tuesday, December 13 that AirPods are available for sale online. They will come to stores next week
iPhone 7 owners wishing for a set of Apple AirPods this Christmas will likely be disappointed.
A month after announcing the wireless earpieces in September, Apple delayed its release and it’s unlikely they will be available in December according to the Wall Street Journal. The $159 AirPods would address the glaring absence of a headphone jack in iPhone 7. Currently, iPhone 7 owners can’t take calls or listen to music while charging their phones.
While the Cupertino-based company is set to manufacture an initial batch of 10 to 15 million AirPods this month, experts are skeptical that Apple would rush to market them before the holidays. Analyst Neil Cybart said he believes Apple should wait until after Christmas to market AirPods or risk shortages and problems with the technology.
“You won’t find too many people faulting them for making sure it’s correct,” Cybart told the Wall Street Journal.
Still, the failure to make good on the October shipping date announced in September could hurt Apple’s reputation in addition to its bottom line. The last time Apple delayed the release of a product was in 2010 with its white iPhone 4, analyst Patrick Moorhead told the Wall Street Journal.
So what’s the reason behind the rare product postponement? The Apple AirPods seem to have problems receiving signals from the iPhone. Whereas most wireless headphones work by receiving a signal in one earpiece and transmitting it to the other, the AirPods get signals independently. Another, more pervasive problem in the wireless headphone market is making sure the microphone blocks background noise outdoors.
With the prospects for a pre-holiday release of AirPods dimming, consumers are turning to alternative wireless headphones. For example, Bragi has sold more than 100,000 units of Dash wireless headphones since February.